It's been so long...

yea, well -- it was the holidays, and I'm reaching the point where I'm associating my computer with my dissertation. So yes, I haven't blogged much lately (it's been almost a month!), but I'm here now and I'll try to find my rhythm over the next few days or weeks.

I thought I'd start easy by letting you know which books I got for the holidays. I didn't get a lot of them, but what I did get will keep me busy...

  • "Towards a New Architecture" Le Corbusier; I opened this one early (let's call it a Hanukkah present, shall we?) and look forward to reading it. It'll go hand and hand with Jane Jacobs' "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" which has been foundering on my night stand for months, right next to Peter Gays' "Freud: A Life for Our Time."
  • "Soccernomics" by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymans. Modeled on "Freakonomics," this book takes a detailed look at the numbers behind soccer. I bought this for my cousin and loved thumbing through it so much that a little birdie must have passed it along that I'd love to own it myself.
  • "2666" by Roberto Bolano. I've been sitting on Bolano's "The Savage Detective" for quite some time, but "2666" is the next book in my online reading book club's list (after "Infinite Jest" and "Dracula") so I thought in order to read this tome I'll need a little help from my (online) friends.
  • "Tim Burton" This retrospective of his career is a great supplement to the exhibit currently at MOMA. Awesome show, awesome book!
  • Currently, I'm tearing through Neal Stephenson's "The Confusion" from his Baroque Trilogy. I've written about Stephenson before, with particular love going out to his "Cryptonomicon." His Baroque Trilogy centers on Isaac Newton, gold, science, philosophy, history, warfare, shipping, and a number of other characteristics -- it's a lot of fun and keeps you thinking. I'm only on part 2, so I'm loving it and looking forward to its conclusion.


Design(ed) Websites...

Day three of my proctoring ordeal continues on, now with driving snow, which is not so bad, that will turn to rain, which is bad.

As I sit here, drying off, I want to share some websites that I've been delving into lately. They're inspired by the desire to create individual pages for each blog/entry...very creative stuff that I wish I had the time/energy/talent to create myself. I guess they're calling them blogazines, crazy kids.

Anyway, check them out below:



I haven't memed in a while, heck I haven't truly blogged in a while, but I thought since I had a fairly productive morning (2+ hours actually writing) I would take a little break and pass on this fairly interesting, and a little scary, project -- found over at DesignNotes.

Go to the address bar in your favorite browser, and type one letter. Start with “a”, end with “z”.

F. facebook.com (The Fatted Calf was a close 2nd)
R. ralphmcquarrie.com (hint, hint -- X-mas is coming...)
S. salon.com (I'm surprised about this, as I read Slate.com much more than Salon)
X. ??


Hit in the Head...

...with a deck of cards.

**Spoiler alert -- the following post contains much poker-related content.**

In addition to the numerous kitchen table poker games that spring up around the holidays here, I try to get to the casinos (nominally boats, but they sure don't look like boats) as the closest and biggest poker room in St. Louis is about 5 minutes from my house. This is about 110 minutes closer than the closest poker room to my apartment in Boston. So, this Thanksgiving I got in two separate trips: the first I ended up about $45, but it should have been more as I played hungry and tired and stooopid; my second trip I got hit in the head with the deck and ended up $125. Both sessions were$3-6 limit, by the way.

This second trip was fun -- I had quads in a pot with 6 runners pre-flop; flopped a couple different full houses and even had a Broadway straight withstand a third heart on the river (these seriously old, and loose, players were in it to win it with any two cards). As I was stacking chips, I remembered my session in L.A.: those crazy gamblers play $4-8 w/$1 chips so that there are piles and piles of chips in the pot, so if you win a pot it takes a number of hands just to stack all the cash. I won about three huge pots in one round and was just trying to keep up -- stacks and stacks of chips; always a good time.

On my first trip, I had quite an interesting first hand. I sit down in the big blind; I have trouble getting my chips out of the rack, and then fumbled them a little bit posting the blind. A Paul Darden-esque (PD) jerk to my left limps in and literally everyone else folds. I check my option w/78o and see a flop of 9-10-5 rainbow. I check because I tend to play pretty tentatively during my first round and PD bets out. I call hoping to turn the nuts: this doesn't happen, but I do make a pair on the turn (the 8 of hearts). I check again, and PD hesitates before betting once more. My spidey sense is tingling; either he's got QJ and the nuts, or he's got nothing. The river brings an off-suit nothing card (2 of something).

Here's where it get interesting: I check, he checks. He says, "Two pair." My heart sinks a little and he makes a feint towards flipping over his hand; but, he never does it. I'm holding onto my one pair and waiting: finally he says, "What do you have?" I, of course, said, "I called you, brother" as our game of chicken continues.

I finally decide that his vocal two pair is junk, and flip over my cards announcing the lone pair that I had. He flashes J4o (in 1st position!) and mucks w/a not quite sheepish grin on his face.

Moral of the story: protect your hand at the table; don't release your cards until you're positive you have a loser, and often you should just flip it over -- especially if you're playing out of your element, in an Omaha game or something.

By the way, he chastised someone later for misreading his hand. Ironically, PD won that particular hand -- and he was still belittling the older gentleman. PD busted out a few rounds later...!